Recycled robots

Although the odds and ends around your house may seem like nothing more than a bunch of clutter, your family toolbox, junk drawer and recycling bins are treasure troves of crafting materials. Bottle caps. Stray washers and bolts. Unused key chains. All of these everyday household supplies can be part of a fun and easy craft project-making your own “robots.”

A robot made from recycled parts and household odds and ends won’t actually be automated, so he can’t empty the dishwasher or finish up your homework, but he will be fun to design, construct and play with.

Begin by collecting some empty tin cans (the recycling bin is a good place to start). Any size tin can will do, but the 28-ounce cans will give you the most space to work with. Wash and dry the can to make sure it is free of any traces of its former contents.

Depending on your design, you may want to leave either the top or bottom lid on the can, or remove both ends. We left one lid on so that we could attach hair to the top of our robot’s head.

Ask an adult to inspect the can to make sure there are no sharp edges. An adult can use some duct tape to line the can’s rim if needed.

Gather up household items to create facial features, arms, legs, hair, communication devices or any other feature you’d like your robot to have. Check the tool box, kitchen junk drawer or make a quick trip to the hardware stores to find the items you need to decorate your robot.

Junk_web Any “junk” will do to build a robot.

We used colored Velcro strips, washers, screws, duct tape, felt pads, hanging wire, stainless steel scrubbing pads, metal braces, plastic caps, bottle caps and key chains.

Metal brackets make great arms and legs. Objects like felt pads, bottle caps, hooks, buttons and washers worked for the facial features. Stainless steel scrubbers are perfect for a head of unruly robot hair.

Figure out how you want to design your robot and lay out all of the components. An adult can then use a hot glue gun to adhere each of the parts to the tin can. Note that using a hot glue gun is always an adults-only job because the glue gets very hot. The hot glue will also make the metal components hot, so use extra caution.

As you apply the glue, hold the parts onto the can until everything adheres. Let the robot sit until all of the glue has dried.

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